Charging… both electricity and higher Supercharger costs
(Click to enlarge)
Our 10th Roadtrip
to California
in our Model 3

Mark D Larsen
March 9-15, 2023

Tamara’s father turned 94 this month, and we decided to take our 10th roadtrip to celebrate the occasion with her family. I have to admit that my enthusiasm for driving this particular route has diminished over the years. Part of my dissatisfaction is not just because the roads are so familiar and tiresome, but also because Correcaminos is not as fun and relaxing to drive. To get my grumbling out of the way, I’ll state up front that we experienced a half-dozen phantom braking events, one red steering wheel alarm, one very serious ping-pong when changing lanes, and a couple of paranoid instances when another car started merging onto the freeway behind us and our Model 3 freaked out and applied the brakes. I really wish we could revert back to our original Autopilot that never had such scary, erratic hiccups. At any rate, below is the usual photo and movie album of the trip.

NOTE: You can click on the following photos to enlarge them, and the movies to play them.

On the road again.

Despite what I said in the video above, we decided at the last minute to skip the Bridger Superchargers in Las Vegas and instead plug in at the South Las Vegas site. We had to wait a couple of minutes for a spot to open up, but this way we could grab some lunch at the Lazy Dog restaurant.

I dropped Tamara off at the restaurant to get started with our order, while Moxie and I waited to add more miles to the battery.

The charging was extremely slow, undoubtedly because the car next to us had plugged in first to the 150 kW Supercharger.

After more than a half-hour of slow charging, I saw that we had at least enough charge to make it to our next stop in Baker, so I unplugged with the battery only half-full.

We could thus enjoyed our lunch at the Lazy Dog.

And then we kept driving toward Baker, crossing the California state line beyond Primm.

A new quirk that I noticed off-and-on during this trip was that the alert to keep my hands on the wheel kept flashing —even though I was constantly giving the wheel some torque! Is the sensor in the wheel starting to fail? Has Tesla made the system more sensitive?

We arrived in Baker and plugged in.

This time the 150 kW unit was charging at its normal rate.

I was disgusted to find that Trashy Tesla Owners were so lousy at "basketball" that they couldn't even hit a rimshot.

I was happy to see two Mustang Mach-E charging from the Electrify America DCFC in the adjacent lot.

The gas prices at the site were shocking.

After 22 minutes, we had our usual 80% charge to continue driving. However, the price for the Supercharge was equally shocking.

Our next stop was at the Superchargers in Mojave. Tesla had added a couple of 250 kW units there, so we were able to charge at the fastest rate available.

We arrived at our motel in Bakersfield with 159 miles left in the battery.

We could see Correcaminos parked in the lot from our window.

Moxie was tired and not feeling very well. She hadn't gone poo-poo all day, and we were worried that we'd have to take her to a vet. Thankfully, she finally got moving again the next day.

We stopped at the Supercharger on I-15, but only added enough miles to reach the next one at Kettleman City.

We plugged into a 250 kW unit in Kettleman, which quickly charged to 80% while we grabbed some mochas in the coffee shop.

It was beyond belief for me to find that Cable Cretins could be so irresponsibly rude… right in front of the coffee shop!

Next stop was in Patterson, which thankfully also had v.3 Superchargers.

We made it Tamara's folks home, had dinner with them, and later that evening I plugged in to recharge at the Roseville Superchargers.

These were the old, slower model Superchargers, but I was in no hurry anymore to keep driving.

That weekend the family gathered to celebrate Tamara's dad's birthday. I seriously doubt I will live to be his age, nor that I would still be as lucid.

He enjoyed opening his gifts, as one of his favorite activities is to read books, and we gave him several by his preferred authors.

Moxie and I appreciated being able to relax and enjoy the festivities.

Here is Tamara's family around the birthday dinner table.

The birthday cake was delicious, apparently full of chopped almonds and covered with chocolate. Here is a short video of her dad blowing out the candles.

After a few days with Tamara's family, we loaded up to drive home. At the slow Superchargers in Roseville I once again only charged enough to get us to the faster units in Patterson.

With all the stormy weather we had during the entire trip, we had a good tailwind to reach Patterson, and thus arrived with more miles left than was predicted on the energy graph.

Farther down the I-5 freeway, we passed a truckload of Teslas. Oddly enough, we didn't see that many Tesla car carriers this trip as we had in the past, even though the end of the quarter is drawing near. I suspect that the demand is starting to wane, likely because of the petulant antics of the company's erratic CEO.

Past Bakersfield, we started to climb up to Tehachapi, driving through some fairly torrential rains.

Once we reached the top, the rain abated and we were able to catch a glimpse of the numerous rows of wind turbines to the east.

I took this rather long video while driving from Mojave to Barstow. You can see that the sun was setting behind us, and the car's shadow was stretching out over the road ahead.

There were a few clouds showing their sunset colors as we approached the Baker Superchargers.

We arrived in Baker with fewer miles than the energy graph had predicted, undoubtedly because of stormy headwinds.

At the DCFC stations in Baker I spotted this Rivian R1T plugged in.

There was also a Kia EV6 plugged into a 350 kW unit, and thus charging even faster than our Model 3.

We decided to Supercharge only one more time in Primm to 90%, and thus skip Las Vegas when driving the last leg home.

We arrived home with 36 miles left at nearly 1:00 in the morning (the clock hadn’t yet updated to Utah time on the display.)

One thing for sure: it is undeniable that Tesla has raised its prices at the Superchargers significantly. We paid much more per kWh on this trip than when we first took delivery of the car nearly 5 years ago. These graphs compare the prices from the first roadtrip we took to visit Tamara's family and this most recent trip. It is rather shocking to discover that we are paying nearly as much at the Superchargers as a Honda Civic would pay at the pump. I suppose it's good that I didn't buy an electric car just to "save money," but rather to do my small part to mitigate the climate crisis. Nonetheless, it truly discourages me to see that Tesla's CEO places a higher priority on profits over people and planet.

We arrived home more exhausted than on previous roadtrips. We’re glad we could honor Tamara’s dad for completing his 94th orbit around our fusion power plant, but we hope we don’t have to take an 11th trip on those roads in the near future. We can’t predict it, however, and can only keep our fingers crossed that, when and if it does happen, Tesla finally corrects the erratic, dangerous problems with its Autopilot software that have grown steadily worse with the last number of updates. To be quite frank, if it were solely up to me I would gladly transition to a different EV at this point, but the prospect of spending that kind of money right now is too unsettling for Tamara.